Managing Spiritually Adverse People

Authored by: Debra J. Dean

The Routledge Companion to Management and Workplace Spirituality

Print publication date:  March  2019
Online publication date:  March  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138499188
eBook ISBN: 9781351015110
Adobe ISBN:


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Not all people are open to the word “spirituality” as they worry they may be persuaded in a religious sort of way. This chapter will delve into the concept of spirituality to explain what it is and what it is not. Additionally, this chapter will attempt to explain why spirituality is important and how one can make it useful in their own life or in their workplace. This chapter reviews the practical steps Dean took toward applying spirituality at work and the outcomes. Ultimately, she found that application of workplace spirituality in a secular organization is possible. In 2013, the journey began without understanding the full picture of where it would end when Dean enrolled for a PhD program with Regent University. Throughout the voyage, several projects ensued which she demonstrated to her employer through quantitative and qualitative research of the employees in her department, which was followed by training for both leaders and followers. Over the course of time, the department saw many workplace outcome benefits including a change of culture and climate, a subculture of spiritual leadership, high levels of organizational commitment, job satisfaction improvements, increase of productivity, and some of the highest levels of employee engagement in the company. She also saw low levels of turnover in her department. To accomplish this, Dean educated the audience on topics such as servant leadership and spiritual leadership. She also hit the taboo topics of religion and spirituality head-on in her biggest initiative to transform the department into a spiritual workplace. This chapter will reflect on lessons learned as well as highlight the wins and failures throughout the expedition that spanned three years. While there is not a step-by-step program designed to replicate these actions in other organizations, this text is intended to provide a proof of concept and spur ideas while furthering the movement of spirituality at work in both secular and religious workplaces.

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